Macdonald, Ramsay

Ramsay is in the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology graduate program.  He joined the CMB training program in 2015.  His research mentor is Dr. Robert Clubb.  He received a B.S. degree in 2010 from the University of Michigan.

Mentor: Dr. Robert Clubb

Research project:

The Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the causative agent of a wide range of potentially lethal infections. Newer strains of S. aureus have emerged that are resistant to multiple antibiotics and now threaten a return to the pre-antibiotic era in which no effective therapy is available to treat S. aureus infections. Current research efforts are therefore directed towards understanding the molecular basis of S. aureus pathogenesis to facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.

One attractive target is the iron acquisition system in S. aureus as the organism must acquire iron from its host in order to mount an infection. Hemoglobin (Hb) contains ~70% of the body’s iron tightly bound to heme (protoporphyrin IX + iron) and is preferentially used by S. aureus as an iron source. S. aureus uses two surface receptors to extract heme from Hb, IsdH and IsdB. My research will focus on understanding the mechanism of heme extraction from Hb by IsdB.